Bottas secures pole, Leclerc shines in the Eifel GP qualifying

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Valtteri Bottas came out on top of the fierce battle in the qualifying session for the Eifel Grand Prix, beating Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Charles Leclerc delivered the biggest surprise of the session, ending up fourth fastest.

The first test for Hülkenberg – Q1

Nico Hülkenberg stood arguably in the centre of attention when the lights switched to green in the first qualifying segment. The German had an even more hectic preparation for qualifying than it was the case at Silverstone ahead of the Brisith Grand Prix as he was called by Racing Point just three hours before the all-important Saturday session.

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc were all safe with their times that they set during their first run. However, every other driver needed to go for another run as the track evolution seemed to be quite significant.

Interestingly, Racing Point opted to complete only two stints with Hülkenberg instead of three that would have been possible considering the length of the first session. The Silverstone-based team possibly made a few adjustments to the German’s car as they had literally no time for any preparation ahead of the qualifying session. The German steadily improved his lap times, but he ended up 20th.

At the end of the session, Romain Grosjean, George Russell, Nicholas Latifi, Kimi Räikkönen and Nico Hülkenberg were eliminated, meaning that they will line up tomorrow in that order at the back of the grid.

Strategy game -Q2

Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas, Leclerc and Ricciardo rolled out on to the track on the Yellow medium tyres, trying to qualify themselves on the C3 compound and securing a possible strategy advantage for the opening stint of the race. It was only Hamilton who set a time that could have been enough to get himself through into the next segment, but he also opted to complete another run on the soft compound.

Vettel was fighting with the AlphaTauri cars on his outlap and he was not able to maximize the potential of his car in the first sector. The German was forced to say farewell to the qualifying session on home soil after only setting the 11th fastest time. Daniel Ricciardo was extremely fast on his second fresh set of tyres, ending up fourth quickest at the end of Q2.

McLaren brought a couple of new parts to the Nürburgring which seemed to bear fruit as both Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz managed to get themselves through into the last qualifying segment.

Sebastian Vettel, Pierre Gasly, Daniil Kvyat, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kevin Magnussen were knocked out at the end of the second qualifying segment.



The sensational Leclerc - Q3

Following the first run, the order was Verstappen ahead of Bottas and Hamilton, but the replay showed that the Finn had a moment in the first coner, indicating that there was more to come from him.

Sergio Perez only had one fresh set of soft tyres available for Q3 and he decided to complete his flying lap in between the two runs of his rivals. The Mexican ended up ninth with his last effort.

When everyone headed out for the last run, the big question was whether Verstappen could hang on to the provisional pole position. The Dutchman could improve his time, but it was not enough, because both Mercedes drivers found even more time. Bottas was the faster of the duo, beating his teammate by over two tenths of a second.

Leclerc was fifth fastest following the first run, but he was able to put together a sensational lap in his updated Ferrari SF1000 to secure the fourth spot on the grid for tomorrow’s Eifel Grand Prix.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarQ1Q2Q3Laps
177Valtteri BottasMERCEDES1:26.5731:25.9711:25.26919
244Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:26.6201:25.3901:25.52518
333Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA1:26.3191:25.4671:25.56215
416Charles LeclercFERRARI1:26.8571:26.2401:26.03518
523Alexander AlbonRED BULL RACING HONDA1:27.1261:26.2851:26.04715
63Daniel RicciardoRENAULT1:26.8361:26.0961:26.22318
731Esteban OconRENAULT1:27.0861:26.3641:26.24220
84Lando NorrisMCLAREN RENAULT1:26.8291:26.3161:26.45818
911Sergio PerezRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:27.1201:26.3301:26.70417
1055Carlos SainzMCLAREN RENAULT1:27.3781:26.3611:26.70920
115Sebastian VettelFERRARI1:27.1071:26.73816
1210Pierre GaslyALPHATAURI HONDA1:27.0721:26.77616
1326Daniil KvyatALPHATAURI HONDA1:27.2851:26.84816
1499Antonio GiovinazziALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:27.5321:26.93614
1520Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:27.2311:27.12516
168Romain GrosjeanHAAS FERRARI1:27.55210
1763George RussellWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:27.5649
186Nicholas LatifiWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:27.8129
197Kimi RäikkönenALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI1:27.8178
2027Nico HulkenbergRACING POINT BWT MERCEDES1:28.02110